Düsseldorf Caravan Salon 2017: Fiat Professional’s new Ducato 4×4 makes its debut
- Fiat Professional presents the Ducato 4×4, which marks a major further extension of the Ducato range, the undisputed leader in Recreational Vehicles.
- On the Fiat Professional stand, the Ducato 4×4 Expedition 2017 Show Vehicle will star at the world’s biggest outdoor tourism fair.
- Projections for the European motorhome market show 2017 exceeding the 2016 figures, with major growth in the camper van sector.
- Ducato is the “Leader in Freedom”, offering customers a vast range of services, developed with Mopar, to enable them to relish their free time without a care in the world.
- The spotlight will also shine on a Camper Show Vehicle version of the Talento and on the Fullback.
From 26 August to 3 September, Düsseldorf will be hosting the 2017 Caravan Salon, the world’s biggest recreational vehicle show. Once again, Fiat Professional will be very much present at this major event, playing a star role with its best seller: the Ducato, the ideal base for camper van enthusiasts, as well as undisputed leader on the European markets.
It is no coincidence that readers of Promobil specialist magazine have chosen Ducato as “best motorhome base of the year” for the tenth time The event will mark the official debut of the Ducato 4×4, and the first appearance, on the Fiat Professional stand, of the Ducato 4×4 Expedition 2017 Show Vehicle, built on the four-wheel drive variant, which opens new horizons for active holidays and once again highlights Fiat Professional’s special skill in anticipating the latest trends in a constantly growing sector. More and more enthusiasts are viewing their recreational vehicles not just as a practical solution, but also as an expression of their personal lifestyles, lived off the beaten track.
At the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf (hall 16/stand D42), Fiat Professional will also be exhibiting a Show Vehicle based on the Talento, an excellent alternative for those in search of a more compact, agile camper van. What’s more, visitors to the event will be able to view all the technologies a camper van contains with the aid of the several Ducato chassis on show at the stand (tractor cabs and chassis cabs). The Fiat Professional display will be completed by the Fullback Cross pickup, ideal for outdoor activities thanks to its four-wheel drive and comfortable 5-seater cab.
The European camper van market is continuing to grow
In 2017, the European camper market is projected to total more than 105,000 units, an increase of 10 percent with respect to the previous year, which already recorded significant growth. According to the forecasts, Germany will be perfectly in line with the European average. This means that the market has taken off again after the global slump which began in 2009, recording a 60 percent increase in sales since that time. A large share of this increase is thanks to the camper van category, i.e. the segment of recreational vehicles built on a van base, which accounts for about 30 percent of the market. These figures strongly highlight the widespread return to nature and the “outdoor life”, as people reinforce their bond with the environment. As a consequence, the camper van is increasingly becoming a lifestyle enabler: not just a vehicle for use on holidays, but a means to freedom, for users to go wherever they want, whenever they want.
Fiat Professional is ready and waiting for what the near future has in store. To respond to the demand for smaller, more versatile vehicles, it offers Talento, in a segment below Ducato in terms of size. For camper van fans in search of genuine adventure, the new Ducato 4×4, with its four-wheel drive, provides the freedom to explore experiences of first-hand contact with nature.
Ducato 4×4 Expedition 2017: even more multi-faceted with four-wheel drive
At the 2017 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, the Fiat Professional brand will be presenting Ducato 4×4 Expedition 2017, based on the new 4×4 version of Ducato, the ideal solution for those in search of the utmost freedom, and for lovers of exploration tourism, or unconventional adventures. After its premier at the German exhibition, the Show Camper van will be also go on display at the most important specialist sector shows. Fiat Ducato 4×4 Expedition 2017 has been created for customers with a sporty, adventurous lifestyle who also want the best technological contents.
The Ducato 4×4 Expedition 2017 show vehicle has a four-wheel drive and all-terrain base which extends the potential for motorhome travel. The four-wheel drive is permanent, with two transfer cases and an automatically operated central viscous coupling. This device ensures the optimal drive torque split between the front and rear wheels, optimising traction on mud, snow and sand. The driveline is set to one side so that it takes up less room underneath the chassis and does not restrict the ease of outfitting, one of the Ducato recreational vehicle’s key plus factors. The new 4×4 traction system is also integrated with Ducato’s safety systems, specifically ESC (electronic stability control). This enables Ducato 4×4 to ensure excellent road-holding even when loaded to full capacity, as frequently happens with camper vans.
The new 4×4 range, which includes all Ducato versions (not just vans but also trucks, in all the many versions available in the normal 4×2 range) perfectly expresses the Fiat Professional Brand’s ability to perceive, anticipate and satisfy the market’s evolving needs, nourished by skills acquired over almost a century in the sector.
It was during the 1920s that the concept of the recreational vehicle first appeared, when cars ceased to be exclusively elite products as vehicle ownership started to spread through society. At the same time, a few daring outdoor tourism pioneers had the idea of using a car not just as a means of transport, but also as a multi-purpose leisure vehicle. Fiat was already in business and ready to satisfy this new, ambitious demand, with a range of cars and light commercial vehicles to provide the basis for the first, futuristic conversions. The real revolution in the demand for vehicles designed for camping came in the late Sixties: this type of tourism became especially popular with young people, and the Fiat brand was quick to respond to the growing demand with the presentation, in 1967, of the 238, the vehicle which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. It load capacity was outstanding by the standards of the time and, above all, it had an “everything forward” architecture, with front engine and front-wheel drive, ideal for recreational vehicle conversions since it left plenty of space behind the cab for the living area.
Working with that aim, continued through its many subsequent and ever more sophisticated developments, up to and including the introduction of 4×4, today the Fiat Professional brand can express its background to the full by identifying the new opportunities offered by an increasingly fast-growing market. Fiat has always made customer-orientation its mission, never more so than in the 2006 generation of the Ducato, the first model to be technically developed from the outside with the need of camper van transformation firmly in mind. Not an adaptation, but “naturally a camper van”, with all the strength of its in-depth experience. But the Fiat Professional approach reaches far beyond the product itself. Camper van owners have specific needs, satisfied and supported through a range of services constantly extended year-by-year to respond to every customer’s requirements.
A Show Vehicle based on Talento, which targets the Motorsport world, will also be on display at the Düsseldorf show. This is an on-road version with lower suspension and various racing details, intended for use as a paddock vehicle, for transporting motorbikes and as a rest area.
Ducato: the only base conceived to be a camper van
Thirty-six years ago, the Ducato revolutionised the large-volume van market with its front wheel drive and transverse engine, plus zestful engines and an efficient cargo area.
A revolution that seems to have no end. The current, and sixth, generation boasts the highest total ground weight in the segment, the highest front axle load (up to 2100 kg) and the highest rear axle load for vehicles with single-wheel rear axles (up to 2500 kg), as well as the largest maximum load. The balanced chassis and specific suspensions for camper vans ensure safety and dynamic behaviour in all road conditions. It also offers a large number of active and passive safety devices to provide peace of mind at the wheel, even with the family on board.
Comfort is assured both for drivers and passengers: outstanding visibility, swivel “Captain Chairs”, adjustable steering wheel and hydraulic power steering. The optimal ergonomic layout ensures all controls are within easy reach and gives user-friendly access to all services via smartphone or tablet control.
As a whole, the new exterior style stems from a distinctive “car design”, with a style conceived and developed in response to the Camper world’s demands and which, teamed with the concept of a genuine light commercial vehicle, conveys a strong sense of dynamism, safety, quality and sturdiness. Another outstanding feature is the possibility of customising the styling of the vehicle with a number of solutions, such as the two different finishes for the front grille and the skid-plate that embellishes and personalises the underside and centre of the bumper, headlights with integrated DRL (also LED) and a wide selection of light alloy wheels.
Engines and transmissions
Ducato’s engines and transmission are also developed with the needs of camper vans clearly in mind.In fact, the technology that characterises Ducato engines is the best example of the specific focus on improving efficiency while maintaining eco-friendliness. The engines, all Euro 6B, are provided with Low Pressure EGR technology (LPEGR), which intercepts the exhaust gases after the DPF and returns them to the combustion chamber via a low pressure circuit. This system has two advantages: it abates NOx emissions by means of a lower combustion temperature and saves fuel by ensuring better efficiency. What’s more, this system also delivers the best results in terms of weight reduction, a crucial factor in the camper van sector.
All the engines in the Ducato line-up are at the top of their class in terms of fuel efficiency and also deliver high torque even at low rpm, an essential feature for camper van drivers. The Multijet2 engine range comprises four power levels, from 115 to 180 HP: an offering capable of satisfying the varied needs of motorhome manufacturers and users.
In detail, the 2-litre 115 Multijet2 is the cheapest, most eco-friendly in the range, ideal above all for camper vans. It has 115 HP and a torque power of 290 rpm and uses 6 percent less fuel than the previous Euro5+. It is available with a six-speed transmission, also in a right-hand drive version.
The 2.3 litre 130 Multijet2 engine is the best-seller, ideal for medium-sized motorhomes: it is easy to drive in all conditions with a torque of 320 Nm available as early as at 1800 rpm. It is ideal for mixed use: agile in traffic, brilliant on long hauls. The characteristics of the 2.3 litre 150 Multijet2 engine also make it the ideal choice for larger-sized chassis cab or cowl versions, with a maximum torque of 380 Nm, delivered at 1500 rpm. Finally, there is the powerful 2.3 litre 180 HP Multijet2, the top of the range, ideal for the largest, heaviest motorhomes and, of course, for camper van owners seeking the highest level of performance. It offers the same levels of torque and power as the previous 3.0 – namely, 180 HP and 400 Nm – but consumes approximately 20% less fuel. This exceptional result is also achieved by means of a series of improvements to the turbocharger’s fluid dynamics, the crankshaft in special high-strength steel, the reinforced pistons and the even higher-pressure injection pump.
Another major innovation is available across the whole range: a more powerful alternator, on request, which cuts the battery-charging time by 10%.
The robotised “Comfort Matic” transmission is available on all 2300 cm3 engines. This is an electrohydraulically operated robotic sequential transmission, which combines the reliability and lightweight of the 6-speed manual transmission from which it is derived with the convenient option of fully automatic mode. Electronic gear shifting also gives access to a wide range of other beneficial features, from faster engine warm-up, to reduce consumption, to the “up” function, activated with a push-button and designed to give peak performance on the toughest roads… much appreciated by camper van drivers.
Safety and Infotainment
Ducato proves to be at the cutting edge also in terms of high-tech contents with its many safety and driving assist devices. For instance, all versions are supplied, on request, with electronic stability control (ESC) enhanced with rollover mitigation to maximise comfort, Hill Holder for easier hill starts, anti-slip regulation (ASR) and electronic emergency brake assist (EBA). Drive-assist systems include Traction+ and the innovative Hill Descent Control system (which helps when descending the steepest slopes at low speed), the lane departure warning system (LDWS), traffic sign recognition (TSR) and automatic full beam headlight regulation (HBR).
Ducato also offers a wide range of radios, with Bluetooth technology and MP3 player. In addition, a 5″ touchscreen UconnectTM system is available, as well as reverse camera and built-in satellite navigation system. Last but not least, the whole line-up is available with a digital audio broadcasting (DAB) decoder, as well as traditional analogue radio.
Leader in Freedom
The Leader in Freedom concept has a clearly defined meaning: ‘Freedom’ is what Fiat Professional promises to Customers by guaranteeing that it will be on hand with a solution to any problem they may have during their holiday. “Leader”, because today the Brand’s offer, not only of products but also of specific services for the motorhome world, is unique and unrivalled on the market. A team of professionals has been taking care of motorhome customers and their needs since 2003. Over time, this team has expanded, improved and updated its skills, growing closer and closer to customers and their requirements.
The ability to listen to customers – which starts with Customer Care and continues in Fiat Professional’s workshops – means being able to respond efficiently to current needs and plan ahead for those of the future. Therefore the service concept doesn’t stop with product assistance but includes caring for customers on holiday by being on hand at all times. Twenty multilingual Fiat Professional Brand Ambassadors are ready to take calls on the motorhome toll-free number in 44 European countries, in customers’ own languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And, above all, they deal with any type of problem as quickly as possible, also involving the Fiat Professional technical departments if necessary. What’s more, with “Link & Chase” the Brand acts as a “bridge” between the customer and the workshops, on the one hand contacting the service centre to simplify diagnosis and speed up the delivery of any spare parts required, and on the other directly contacting the customer to reassure him and update him on repair procedures and times. Launched in 2015, the “Link & Chase” service is also extremely useful in overcoming any linguistic barriers between the customer and workshop staff.
Fiat Professional’s promise of peace of mind to its customers also includes the Max Care Camper extended warranty. From this year, in view of the typically seasonal use of recreational vehicles, Fiat Professional is lengthening the period during which the warranty can be extended to 12 months from the date of registration.
The extension provides up to five years’ cover even for mechanical and electrical components, and includes the invaluable roadside assistance service.
One last, but no less important, topic is connection, meaning the way in which all the new communication technologies are used as service aids: from the fiatcamper.com site (available in 9 languages and visited more than 50 thousand times a month), where camper van owners can acquire and check full information about their vehicle’s service status, to the app – a real utility, contents and service platform that is always to hand – downloaded onto computers and smartphones more than 90 thousand times, and from social media, which provide the community of motorhome owners with information and advice in real time, to the monthly newsletter, dispatched to outdoor enthusiasts throughout the EMEA area.